Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE Smackdown Review - March 20th, 2003

WWE Smackdown 
March 20th, 2003
Louisville, Kentucky 

WWE Champion: Kurt Angle (since 12/15/02)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas (since 2/6/03)
WWE Cruserweight Champion: Matt Hardy (since 2/23/03)

Commentators - Michael Cole & Tazz 


It’s the second to last show before Mania 19. Realized this afternoon I typed it. 

TONIGHT: Hulk Hogan / Mr. McMahon contract signing 

1) Charlie Haas (w/ Shelton Benjamin) vs. Rhyno (w/ Chris Benoit)
Rhyno has been on point since returning so hell fucking yeah. He charges Haas at the bell and it RULES. Nice heel work from Benjamin at ringside. This felt big and the tag title match at Mania continues to heat up. Haas loses via DQ after he & Benjamin use the titles and nail Rhyno with them, but man, this was a blast while it lasted. 

Match rating - **1/2 

After the commercial break, Brian Kendrick is in Stephanie McMahon’s office. She’s disappointed in him for finding his way into the match with Matt Hardy and defying her authority. BUT she’s gonna give him an opportunity tonight. If he beats Shannon Moore, he will finally get a contract and join the Smackdown roster. 

Another John Cena pretape. This time he says he’s hardcore like porn and that Brock is soft core or.. something. Cena says he’s coming for Brock next week. Interesting this is all happening a week or two before Brock’s big Mania match against Kurt Angle. Cena also put out a challenge to any rapper in the world to meet him at WrestleMania. 

Eddie & Chavo Guerrero are on a golf course somewhere. They bet some money against some random guys on a game and do absolutely terrible and try cheating to win lmao. And it works. The Guerrero’s take all their money and belongings because “winner takes all.” IF UR NOT CHEATING UR NOT TRYING. 

2) Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero) and Rikishi vs. FBI (Nunzio, Chuck Palumbo, & Johnny Stamboli)

This stemmed from last week where The Guerreros saved Rikishi from a 3 on 1 attack by FBI. Chavo gets isolated here and Eddie gets the hot tag. He & Rikishi clean house. Ass to face and frog splash combo put Palumbo down for the count. Basic fun TV trios match. 

Match rating - **1/2

3) Rey Mysterio vs. Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia)

These two just can’t do no wrong can they? Awesome spotfest here. Nidia even over delivers here, flooring Rey with a brutal clothesline on the outside. Rey return the favor later in the match taking her out with a springboard cross body. Noble goes for a Tiger Driver on the apron, but Rey fights out. 619. West Coast Pop. 123. 

Match rating - ***

WWE Champion Kurt Angle comes out with his brother Eric to talk about the trick they pulled on Brock Lesnar last week. Kurt says Brock owes him an apology for what he did to Eric after the match and calls him out. He gets Stephanie McMahon instead. Steph says if anyone interferes in the Angle/Lesnar match at Mania, Angle will forfeit the title immediately. Kurt says he will do it, but not for the people, for himself. He won the gold medal with a broken neck so he knows he can beat Brock “again”. Kurt says he isn’t leaving until Brock comes out and so he does. It’s hype as hell, but the numbers see Brock get taken down with crutch shots and an Angle Slam through a chair. Angle starts choking Lesnar, wrenching back on his head with a knee pressed down in his back. Lesnar is floored and Angle mocks him before leaving with the belt. IM SO READY FOR THIS MATCH EVEN THOUGH IVE ALREADY SEEN IT LIKE FIVE TIMES.  

4) The Undertaker vs. Bill Demott 

Bill Demott is a dork. This is fine. They give him more than you’d expect here, but obviously Taker wins (with a choke slam followed by a tombstone.) 

Match rating - *3/4

Brock is in the back on the trainers table getting checked out. They have ice on his back and he is clearly in some serious pain. 

5) Shannon Moore (w/ Matt Hardy) vs. Brian Kendrick 

Brian Kendrick comes out to no music and it’s awkward as fuck. If he wins, Kendrick becomes a permanent member of the Smackdown roster after doing every damn thing possible in the last month or two to get that chance. From wrestling Kurt Angle to streaking nude to giving Steph flowers. It all leads to this. They trade moves then Moore tries to wear down Kendrick. Kendrick fights up and Hardy gets involved, dropping him on the steel steps so REY REY runs down to help. SLICED BREAD TO SHANNON MOORE AND KENDRICK WINS! Nice rub as he celebrates with Mysterio after the match. 

Match rating - **1/4

6) Chris Benoit (w/ Rhyno) vs. Shelton Benjamin (w/ Charlie Haas)

This is giving me some foreshadowing to the true era I’m looking forward to covering (2005-2006) as I’m preeeetty sure these two had a match on Raw in 04 or 05? Either way this is a first time match here and it’s good while it lasts. Benoit charges Benjamin and they grapple and keep things at an intense pace for the majority of this rather short match. Benoit locks Benjamin in the crossface, Haas comes to break it up, but RHYNO HITS THE GORE AND BENJAMIN TAPS.

Match rating - **1/4

Mean Gene Okerlund is here!!!! He introduces Hogan and Vince for the contract signing so this feels even more huge than it already did. Hogan says Vince said he made Hulkamania but “HE IS DEADASS WRONG BROTHER” omfg that is a sentence I never thought I’d hear from Hulk Hogan in 2003. Vince is walking through the backstage area during this and his music hits in the arena only to come from behind and NAIL Hogan with a chair in the back.. over and over.. and over. DAMN. He hits him in the head and busts him open next. Vince then signs the contract and jabs Hogan’s bloody head with the pen and forces Hogan to sign the contract with his own blood. This looked really good. Vince is fucking nuts. He leaves as a bloody Hogan lays in the ring to close the show. 

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